2019 NFL Draft Prospect Spotlight: Brian Burns

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Brian Burns
TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 03: Brian Burns #99 of the Florida State Seminoles looks on during the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 3, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. Virginia Tech won 24-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

With seven sacks in only six games, FSU EDGE Brian Burns has lived up to the hype so far this season. The most impressive part is that the numbers aren’t what makes him so intriguing. It’s how he gets the sacks. It’s not only his production but the traits he constantly shows throughout games. He does all of this while only being a true junior.

2019 NFL Draft Prospect Spotlight: Brian Burns

Flexibility

In the video above, Burns’ ability to rush the passer is on full display. For a player that is 6’5″, he sure does know how to bend the edge. Burns displays great explosion out of his stance then precedes to corner the edge without drifting upfield even an inch.

On this play, Burns shows effortless get off. Again you see the explosion out of his stance. This time it is paired with an unreal first step. With his first two steps, Burns manages to get upfield so quick that the offensive lineman barely has enough time to drop into his pass set. From there he is able to use his length and excellent dip to get around the corner and sack the quarterback.

Burns ability to get upfield quickly shows just how dangerous he can be as a pass rusher.

I know, I know this is just another example of just how special Burns flexibility is off the edge. His ability to keep his frame under him and dip his shoulder below the offensive lineman points to a special kind of potential. As he dips under the lineman, Burns shows excellent use of his length. As he starts to dip, he uses his hand to counter the linemen. This allows him to prevent the lineman from getting his hands on Burns. From there he dips his shoulder and turns the corner with what looks like ease.

This is very hard to do and many pass rushers struggle greatly with this. Once Burns gets to the top of his arch he is able to use maintain his speed and make the sack. Very impressive work for such a young player.

Pass Rush Arsenal

While one of the most coveted traits for a pass rusher is their bend off the edge, they also need to have an arsenal of moves at their disposal that they can use. Burns has just that. In the play above, Burns displays an excellent use of the spin move. This is a very hard move to find success doing. Many times a good offensive lineman can counter if you aren’t quick enough and flush you out of the play. Here, however, Burns is able to set up the lineman perfectly and create a pressure in the process.

First off, you once again see just how fast Burns can gain ground as a pass rusher. With his long strides, he makes the offensive lineman continue to drop in his pass set. From there, he sees the running back coming up and sets up his spin move based on that. Once the spin move is executed, Burns immediately uses his speed to beat the potential double team he sees and get to the quarterback for a pressure. While he was not able to come up with the sack on this play, he did put pressure on the quarterback and cause him to throw the ball away.

Once again, showing just how important it is to have a plan of attack when rushing the passes. The play also shows the importance of a variety of pass rush moves. Because Burns sees the running back coming to help block him he decides to implement the spin move in a near second of a decision. His ability to properly execute it in the fashion he did makes it most impressive.

Here’s another spin move Burns displays. Here his primary goal was to attack using a spin move.

Running along the lineman’s outside shoulder, Burns allows himself the space to set up the spin move perfectly. He uses his body weight to make it look like he is using a speed rush around the edge. When the lineman brings his feet together, Burns plants his foot in the ground and spins the other way. This causes the lineman to get flat-footed and try to recover with his strength. Unfortunately for him, Burns is too fast and is past him before he can reset his feet.

Here, Burns is a little late off the snap but finished the play good. While timing the snap is an area he could improve, Burns shows his ability to make up for it with his traits. (His get off wasn’t even bad in the play above, just needs to become more consistent with it).

In the play above Burns demonstrates his pure speed and fast working lower body. Burns first addresses this play head-on. He rushes straight towards the lineman. As the lineman gets to the top of his pass set Burns is able to use his quick feet to plant firmly in the ground and cross the lineman laterally in a mere second. As the lineman tries to catch Burns, he quickly implements a swim move to get past the lineman and get his hand off him. From there, it is just him and the quarterback one on one. While the quarterback does end up seeing Burns and scrambles, Burns sets the play up perfectly. He puts pressure on the quarterback and allows his teammate to come up with the sack.

Last Word

There is no such thing as a perfect prospect and Burns is far from it. Like anyone else, there are some holes in his game that need work. But overall, the potential is evident on the field.

The biggest questions Burns will need to answer during the draft process revolve around his size and athleticism. He is listed at 6’5″ and 231 pounds. While his height is appealing to many teams, it’s his weight that could cause problems. This season, Burns has looked to add some more muscle to his frame but the question is if it’s enough. Not only that, but is he athletic enough for teams to overlook his weight?

The NFL is a crazy place where general managers and scouts highly covet athleticism. While it is important, the main question is just how athletic is he for his size. At his current size, Burns would have to test off the charts in some categories in order for some teams to think about drafting him high. While many may not agree with his draft stock being based largely around his combine testing, for some teams it just may.

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